The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

August 9, 2013

Race theme, technical jargon in 'Planes' may appeal more to adults

By Alice Reese
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — PLANES

It’s Disney and it’s animated, and the cutesy talking planes have cartoon eyes and propeller noses. But filmmaker Klay Hall’s “Cars” spin-off heavily emphasizes the “Wings Around the Globe” aerial race and uses a lot of technical aviation jargon and should prove more appealing to dads and grampas than to the usual target audience of youngsters.  

Evoking quite a few laughs, the well-cast voice talent includes Dane Cook as crop duster Dusty Crophopper, an Air Tractor; Stacy Keach as Dusty’s mentor Skipper, a Navy Corsair; Julia Louis-Drefus as Rochelle, a Bay Super V; and Cedric the Entertainer as Leadbottom, a Stearman biplane. Three-D is used effectively during the planes’ aerobatics and to hone in on scenic vistas as the competitors speed across four continents.

Rated   PG  2 and 1/2 Stars

 

ELYSIUM

It’s a struggle to survive on the overpopulated, decaying and polluted Earth of 2154. At the same time, very rich former Earthlings live on an idyllic, illness-free space colony called Elysium. Even though the space station is a mere 19-minute space ride away, no poor folks are allowed to enter.

Writer/director Neill Blomkamp follows the Oscar-nominated “District 9” with another clever and rousing sci-fi thriller. Versatile Matt Damon continues to impress as Max DeCosta, a factory worker who has been irradiated and will die unless he can reach a med-pod on Elysium.

Wearing an exoskeletal robot suit which has been surgically grafted to his body, Max battles a veritable army of robo-cops as well as Defense Secretary Rhodes Delacourt’s (Jodie Foster) vicious Earth-based enforcer Kruger (Sharlto Copley).

Rated R   3 Stars

 

WE’RE THE MILLERS

Imagine a rehash of “Vacation,” but without Chevy Chase and without an actual family.

Pot dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) corrals stripper Rose O’Reilly (Jennifer Aniston) along with teenagers Casey Mathis (Emma Roberts) and Kenny Rossmore (scene stealer Will Poulter) to pose as his family in a scheme to smuggle drugs through Mexican customs.

Director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s sometimes riotous road trip comedy fits into the modern “R” for raunch mode as the “Millers” get into wacky, crude, and, of course, dangerous situations.

Through it all, Sudeikis flashes that fresh-faced twinkle that allows his rather sleazy character to get away with even the most outrageous behavior.

Rated R   3 Stars

 

BLUE JASMINE

Filmmaker Woody Allen blends another compelling cocktail of drama and comedy in a film that  ranks alongside his critically acclaimed “Midnight in Paris” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Cate Blanchett deserves Oscar consideration for her captivating portrayal of Jasmine, a New York socialite who loses her vast wealth after her swindler husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) goes to prison.

Jasmine, a neurotic embodiment of Blanche DuBois and Ruth Madoff, goes to San Francisco to stay in a small apartment with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), and Ginger’s three kids. Hilarity and pathos accompany Jasmine’s attempts to first join the workforce and then to pull off a scheme to recapture her former lifestyle.

The terrific cast includes Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay and Bobby Cannavale.

Rated PG-13   3 and 1/2 Stars